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The Best Albums of 2022 (So Far)

2022’s album includes a diverse group of talented songwriters yearning for a sense of calm in this tumultuous time. We have compiled a list of the best albums since January below.

Dawn FM by  The Weeknd

The Weeknd’s music has a distinct, sophisticated style that is reminiscent of both John Carpenter and Aubrey Graham. He is equally concerned with dishing out tense discomfort and fusing hip-hop and R&B with aspects of mainstream genres that are out of bounds. Dawn FM expands the artist’s sound while paying homage to the syrupy sonics of beloved albums like House of Balloons, dipping slick 21st century R&B in a vat of expertly curated 20th century nostalgia. It’s still tremendously catchy, but it also seems disturbingly hurried, awkward in its excess, like a party scene from a horror film.

Versions of Me by Anitta

Anitta’s Algorithm Nation includes you, right? The 29-year-old Brazilian singer-MC-dancer travels door to door in Versions of Me, a glittering omnibus of pop digitalia, in an effort to rally support for her burgeoning Global Dance-Floor Booty Inspector campaign. Anitta pinches your cheek while keeping an eye on her streaming statistics. She shines greatest when she meticulously manages every market-tested and quantized musical element with wonderfully cunning enthusiasm. She persistently charms even the most skeptical doom scrollers, acting as if she were a fidgety social media stream in human form. At your risk, don’t fight her!

Charli  XCX by Crash

A rare instance of a musician doing a flawless pop heel-turn. On her final album for Atlantic, “a contentious relationship,” XCX made the decision to compete with them head-on by adopting the persona of a “big label pop star,” leaning into blue-chip co-writes, and embracing radio-friendly bangers. Crash succeeds because it never seems burdened by the theme; it is full of catchy songs like Beg for You and Baby and a lot of passion. It wasn’t only about leaving her label; it was also about calling it quits on her shaky long-term relationship and losing her late colleague.

Ivory by Omar Apollo

Omar Apollo’s captivating full-length debut, Ivory, is stunning because despite its intricate production choices and lavish sonic embellishments, it always seems easy. The album is a veritable treasure trove of musical styles; when you crack it up, you’ll hear razor-sharp guitar riffs, heavenly harmonies, agonizing soul melodies, and even hints of ranchera. Apollo’s sense of maturity roots the project even when it is branching out in many directions, and the songs remain fun but delicate, free yet concentrated. Omar Apollo is a freaking star, and that is the overarching theme that shines across all the material it covers.

High School by Tim Heidecker

That Tim Heidecker, indeed. The legendary alt-comedian made a comeback last month with a brand-new album, the most recent in his ongoing shift toward sincere, heart-on-sleeve singer-songwriter music. His finest work to date Heidecker uses the past to contextualize the present in High School. Teenage sadness is explored in songs like “Chillin’ in Alaska” and “Stupid Kid,” while “Buddy” creates a composite portrait of old pals who have passed away due to drug use and other reasons. Other times, like on the outstanding song “Sirens of Titan,” it seems as if Heidecker is digging up long-buried memories and putting them back together in the present to make sense of who he is now. It’s not only Heidecker’s finest album; it’s one of the best indie rock recordings you’ll hear all year thanks to Mac DeMarco’s production assistance and Kurt Vile’s guest appearance.

Beautiful by Mariah Carey

The philosophical underpinnings of almost all of Blige’s 15 albums are there, yet Good Morning Gorgeous has a looser vibe than others. Since her well-known divorce, she has said that the title is based on a positive affirmation she tells herself. That aligns her latest album with the motivating, self-help principles that have influenced her work since 2001’s No More Drama. Still, the record moves between tenses and aesthetics. There is a lot of emotional turmoil, yet she delicately avoids the profound tragedy of her history. Even when the feelings contradict it, the music is often upbeat and vibrant.

‘V’ by Aṣa

The French-Nigerian singer-songwriter, whose critically acclaimed self-titled first album was released 15 years ago, has been followed by a number of successful modern artists. She made connections with a few of those musicians after fleeing from Paris to Lagos to survive the epidemic in early 2020, much to the delight of those artists. Collaborations with artists like Wizkid and the eclectic Ghanaian American Afro-fusionist Amaarae led to the creation of her most recent album, V. Aa was able to weave her flexible writing and gentle voice around the production and attitude of each act she was accompanied by, but it is her solo performances that demonstrate why she is so singularly influential.

Esquemas by Becky G

An artist must sometimes show their independence, and on Esquemas, rising Mexican-American sensation Becky G does just that, even while she is working with others. Her finest music to date is the end product. Reggaeton and dembow are the primary beats of Mala Santa, her 2019 first LP, as well. But a song like “Flashback,” which Becky G often collaborates with in Miaimi, is a wonderful change-up: It’s a kind of doo-wop duro that is raw and silky slow at the same time, with strong rhythmic breakdowns. A dance floor remix of the electronic music “No Mienten ” is in order.

Marchita by Silvana Estrada

The 24-year-old Mexican songwriter’s first album is filled to the brim with the unique melancholy of grieving not only one’s first breakup but also “mourning that initial concept one has about love,” according to her. Estrada’s cuatro playing provides a soft foundation for her dramatic vocals. She was influenced by jazz greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan while she was learning to sing. In songs like Te Guardo and Marchita, she cries out in agony and can conjure a precision that is as graceful and energizing as a bird’s wing flutter. Lovers of music are also lovers of slang, you might also want to know some slangs and phrases.

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